Thursday, 27 April 2017 10:51

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus vs. Google Pixel XL: Two plus-sized phones battle it out

By: 

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus are finally here, boasting perhaps the best specs we’ve seen in a flagship phone yet. But they’re not the only flagship phones around — some pretty excellent devices have launched in the past six months or so. Like, for example, the Google Pixel XL.

But how do the two “plus”-size phones compare when it comes to overall power and performance? We pit the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus against the Google Pixel XL to find out.

Specs

 

Google Pixel XL

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Size 154.7 × 75.7 × 8.5 mm (6.09 × 2.98 × 0.33 inches) 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm (6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches)
Weight 5.93oz 6.1oz
Screen 5.5-inch AMOLED 6.2-inch AMOLED
Resolution 1,440 × 2,560 pixels (534 ppi) 2,960 x 1,440 pixels (529 ppi)
OS Android 7.1 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat
Storage 32GB/128GB 64GB
MicroSD Card Slot No Yes
NFC support Yes Yes
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Samsung Exynos 9 Series 8895 (International)
RAM 4GB 4GB
Connectivity GSM, CDMA, HSPA, EVDO, LTE, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 4G LTE, GSM, CDMA HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Camera 12.3MP Rear / 8MP Front 12MP Rear with OIS / 8MP Front
Video 4K 4K
Bluetooth 4.2 5.0
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Other sensors Barometer, gyroscope, accelerometer, proximity sensor, compass Barometer, gyroscope, accelerometer, proximity sensor
Water Resistant No IP68
Wireless charging No Yes, PMA and Qi-compliant
Battery 3,450mAh 3,500mAh
Ports USB Type-C, Headphone USB Type-C, Headphone
Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Color options Quite Black, Very Silver, Really Blue Silver, Black, Orchid Grey, Blue (International), Gold (International)
Price $649 Starts at $840
Availability UnlockedVerizon Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-MobileUnlocked
DT Review 4 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

When it comes to specs, it’s truly a case of newer is better. For starters, the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus has the latest and greatest Qualcomm chipset, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, while the Google Pixel XL has the Snapdragon 821. The Snapdragon 821 was certainly a good chip for its time, and still is relatively powerful, but not against the newer Snapdragon 835.

So just how powerful is the Snapdragon 835? Well, we don’t know exactly just yet, but early benchmark results suggest the device is at least 15 percent more powerful than its predecessor.

Of course, the processor isn’t the only thing to note in the specs department. It’s expected that we’ll start seeing more phones with 6GB of RAM over the next year or so, but for now Samsung has stuck safely with 4GB, putting it on par with the Google Pixel XL when it comes to RAM.

Next up is storage. The Google Pixel XL offers either 32GB or 128GB of storage, while the Galaxy S8 Plus only comes in 64GB — so while the base model of the Galaxy S8 Plus has more than the base model of the Pixel XL, the Pixel XL has more options. Of course, then there’s the microSD card slot in the Galaxy S8 Plus, which lets you expand your storage by up to 256GB.

The Galaxy S8 has a better processor and the ability to expand on storage, so it’s the winner in the performance department.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Design

Both the Google Pixel XL and the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus are relatively stylish phones, and both feature some unique design choices by Google and Samsung respectively. The Google Pixel XL, for example, has a half glass back, which was somewhat criticized when the Pixel was first launched. The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, on the other hand, features a full glass back, helping it look very sleek and stylish.

The S8 Plus on the front, though, looks very much like a Samsung device that has evolved. Ultra-slim bezels coupled with the familiar Edge display make for a gorgeous smartphone that has an 83 percent screen-to-body ratio. The Pixel XL, on the other hand, is quite the opposite with glaringly large bezels that only seem to take up a lot of room for no reason.

On the right of the Google Pixel XL, you’ll find the power button and volume rocker, while the bottom sports the USB-C port and the top the 3.5mm headphone jack. On the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, you’ll find a dedicated Bixby button below the volume rocker on the left of the phone, while the power button sits alone on the right. The bottom features a USB Type-C charging port and, thankfully, a headphone jack.

The dimensions of the phone are interesting. While the display on the 6.2-inch S8 Plus is much bigger than that the 5.5-inch Google Pixel XL, the phone is only a tad taller — that’s thanks to the much smaller bezels on the Galaxy S8 Plus. On top of that, the phone is phone is slightly less wide, and a little thinner, but not by much.

Design is largely subjective, but this one’s a no-brainer — the S8 Plus takes the cake.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Display

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The two phones aren’t too different in the display department as they both feature AMOLED screens. While the Google Pixel XL has a pretty decent 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 1,440 × 2,560, Samsung’s Galaxy S8 Plus offers a massive 6.2-inch display with a resolution of 1,440 x 2,960 — so you get a slightly higher resolution to accommodate for the larger panel, but the Pixel XL packs slightly more pixels per inch.

The Google Pixel XL features a pretty standard display, but the Galaxy S8 Plus utilizes the famed “Edge” panel on the sides of the device, which offers some more functionality. The S8 Plus is also premium HDR compliant, so you can be sure to see accurate colors, deep blacks, and an overall vibrant display.

Because of the higher resolution, classy curves, and HDR-ready display, the Galaxy S8 Plus is the winner.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Battery life and charging

Google Pixel XL
Google Pixel XL

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The battery is obviously an area that Samsung will want to be careful about — especially considering the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco. The Galaxy S8 Plus offers a battery with a capacity of 3,500mAh, which isn’t slightly larger than the 3,450mAh battery on the Google Pixel XL.

That doesn’t mean that the Galaxy S8 Plus will last longer on a single charge — in fact, it probably won’t. The display is the single biggest user of battery life, and considering the fact that the Galaxy S8 Plus’ display is larger and has a higher resolution means there’s a chance the S8 Plus could take up a lot more battery.

Thankfully, Samsung’s S8 Plus supports wireless charging, offering users more options in how they want to charge their phone. That helps it win this contest.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Camera, software, durability, and more

Camera

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL were highly praised for their camera, and rightly so — the camera is an increasingly important part of the smartphone.

When it comes to raw specs, the Google Pixel XL offers a 12.3-megapixel rear-facing camera with a f/2.0 aperture and electronic image stabilization. The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus carries over the same camera as the Galaxy S7 — a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with a f/1.7 aperture.

The front-facing camera on both devices are packed with 8-megapixels, and they’ll likely offer similar quality shots. The specs on the two phones are ultimately pretty similar, but in our camera tests the Google Pixel outperformed the Galaxy S7, so we’ll have to crown it the winner here.

Winner: Google Pixel XL

Software

While both of the two phones feature the latest and greatest Android Nougat version, software is a pretty big point of difference for the Google Pixel XL. The Pixel series replaces the Nexus program as offering Android as Google intended it — so you won’t find any bloatware other than pre-installed Google apps. Pixel owners will also get timely security and version updates as soon as Google rolls them out — it’s why the Pixel XL is on Nougat 7.1. The S8 Plus will likely stay on Android 7.0 Nougat for quite some time.

The Galaxy S8 Plus has Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface, which looks far better and isn’t quite the performance hog we remember on prior devices. The S8 Plus also offers Samsung’s all new personal assistant Bixby, which even has a dedicated button on the side of the phone. Bixby can recognize objects via the camera app, can perform touch actions via voice, offers personalized information based on time and location, and allows you to set reminders. What’s great is if Bixby isn’t for you, you can still access Google Assistant by pressing and holding the home button, like on the Pixel XL.

On top of that, the Galaxy S8 Plus features software like Samsung Pay, which is available at far more locations than Google’s Android Pay on the Pixel XL.

Still, while Samsung may offer a few more features in its software over Google, we think the importance of getting timely Android version and security updates are pretty important. We’ll have to go with the Pixel XL based on Samsung’s track record.

Winner: Google Pixel XL

Durability

Google Pixel XL
Google Pixel XL

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Smartphones should last for at least a few years these days, and a part of that means being able to withstand a least a drop or two. Unfortunately, the heavy use of glass on both of these phones limits that. For starters, the Google Pixel features a half glass back, so it would be easy to crack it if you dropped it. That’s magnified on the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, however. The device not only features the curved edge, but it also has a glass back — so dropping it could be disastrous.

The Google Pixel XL isn’t waterproof, and that’s where Samsung gains the upper hand. Like the Galaxy S7, the Galaxy S8 Plus has an IP68 dust- and water-resistance rating, meaning it’ll be able to withstand up to 1.5 meters of water for as long as 30 minutes.

We’d recommend a case for both these phones, but the Galaxy S8 Plus wins this round. At least Samsung offers some protection over water.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Extra features

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Both the devices have plenty on offer, but the S8 Plus has a few features that don’t seem to fall into any other category. For starters, the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus lets you connect your phone to an external monitor through the DeX dock, after which you can use the device like a desktop computer. The dock basically puts the phone in Android freeform mode, and optimized apps can be resized. It’s really a pretty cool feature, and we’re hoping to see more Android phones adopt this functionality.

There’s also iris scanning and facial recognition technology, which you can use to unlock your phone.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Price and availability

Google Pixel XL
Google Pixel XL

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Google Pixel XL started shipping towards the end of 2016, and you can buy it through Verizon or through the Google Play Store. The device starts at $770, which isn’t cheap — and if you want to get the higher storage option you’ll be looking at a total cost of $869. Sadly, Google has been having inventory problems and it’s extremely difficult to find the smartphone in stock. Estimated shipping times are often more than a month.

Samsung hardly has inventory issues as it’s better equipped to make smartphones in huge quantities. The Galaxy S8 Plus hit shelves on April 21.

  Google Pixel XL Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
AT&T N/A $850 or $28.34 per month for 30 months
Sprint N/A $850 or $35.42 per month for 24 months
T-Mobile N/A $850 or $30 per month for 24 months with a $130 down payment
Verizon $770 or $32.08 per month for 24 months $840 or $35 per month for 24 months

That’s a lot more expensive, but you are getting double the storage of the base Google Pixel XL, and a much-improved processor. We have to hand it to Samsung due to Google’s poor stock issues.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

There’s really no question here — the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is a better phone. It’s more powerful, has a better display, and has cool features like desktop mode with the DeX dock. That’s not to say that the Google Pixel XL isn’t a good phone — it’s actually an excellent one, but newer is generally better in the tech world, and it’s no different here.

Source : Digital Trends By Christian de Looper

Leave a comment

airs logo

Association of Internet Research Specialists is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.

Follow Us on Social Media

Book Your Seat for Webinar GET FREE REGISTRATION FOR MEMBERS ONLY      Register Now